Now that I think about it, given that I figured the wins for this were going to be Japan 3, Korea 2, Taiwan 1, and China 0, I have to wonder why they scheduled it such that Japan and Korea would be playing an essentially meaningless match for the third game. This is the game I've been looking forward to, but I'm worried they won't really play hard, because both teams are already advancing. (Yeah, I watched some of yesterday's game, but Matsuzaka sucked. The funniest moment was probably when he "balked" by accidentally dropping the ball mid-throw.)
5 out of the 9 guys in Korea's starting lineup are named Lee.
I'm mostly watching to see what else Speed Star Nishioka, Boy Wonder, is going to pull off... and of course, I want to see Shunsuke Submarine Watanabe, as if I haven't mentioned about three thousand times already that he's awesome. And of course, Michihiro Ogasawara, my favorite Fighter. And well, everyone on the team. It is *really* weird to see Watanabe throwing to Satozaki with Seung-Yeop Lee as the hitter, though, being as they were all teammates on Lotte this year.
I'll be up for another hour or two, so maybe I'll liveblog a little.
Watanabe looks great. Struck out the first guy, second guy grounded out to first, and then he got Seung-Yeop Lee to hit back towards the mound, knocked it down, threw it to first. Whee!
Ichiro really has been kind of sucking it up on the hitting front this series, and this is no different, as he lines out. Nishioka, who has been kicking butt, gets yet another hit. (Man... Nishioka in this series is TOTALLY reminding me of Imae in the Japan Series; if only both of them were getting to play more here!) And Nishioka steals. Woo. Fukudome breaks his bat and moves Nishioka to third, and here comes the big man, Matsunaka. And he's got great speed even for a slugger, beating out the slight bobble from the second baseman. 1-0 Japan as Nishioka scores. Yokohama's slugger Tamura comes up next, fouling a ball off the catcher's mask, and then getting a single. Whoooosh. Iwamura comes up and the announcers talk about how he wants to go to MLB yet again... so he hits into a 6-3 and the inning ends.
You know, I hope Tadahito Iguchi is watching and regretting not being there to play 2B with Nishioka at SS.
The announcers have astutely picked up that submarine pitchers get a lot of ground balls, as the first two guys ground out, and then Boy Wonder Nishioka flies by to make the catch for the third out as Park hits a blooper into the middle infield.
Hmm... I swear that Guts has been pretty bad while I've been awake to watch, as he grounds out to short. Doh. Satozaki flies out, and here's Kawasaki... ha! Just like the other night with Nishioka's unexpected homer, WHOOSH, there's a home run from Kawasaki. 2-0 Japan. I hope Kawasaki's making fun of Matsunaka in the dugout right now. Ok, Ichiro singles, and err... "steals", as Sunny Kim nervously throws a bit wild at Nishioka. But, alas, he bounces the ball to second and doesn't beat out the throw, ending the inning.
Ooo, Ichiro just made a pretty nice run to get a ball in short right field. but... holy crap, Watanabe hit Jong Beom Lee. Bases loaded and here comes Seung-Yeop Lee. did I mention it's weird to see Watanabe pitching to him? Oh, whew, he popped up high to third. Inning over, crisis avoided.
Hmm, a 1-2-3 inning for the Japanese guys. Sunny Kim finally gets a strikeout as he catches Tamura looking.
...and a 1-2-3 inning for the Koreans.
Ah, there's Iwamura singling, and HERE'S GUTS OGASAWARA! I love his stance, I really do. It just amazes me how he can hit like that. And, speaking of hits, there's a single from him too. And... a bunt from Satozaki? Aaaaand... Sunny Kim is gone. Jung Bong comes in for him to pitch to POWER HITTER KAWASAKI. Ahh... dang, that was actually a really nice play by the Korean shortstop Park, as Kawasaki hit it there, and he got it and fired it home to catch Iwamura at the plate. So, um, Ichiro walks, and here is Nishioka! It sounds like there are plenty of Lotte fans out at the Dome tonight, as Nishioka rips a crazy drive to right field which is snagged by Lee (all of the outfielders are named Lee). Though, actually, that was a super-sweet play, a running diving sliding catch, but he got it... otherwise, that's worth at least 2 runs to Japan, seriously.
Huh, after a single... Watanabe hits another batter? Wow. Ok, a bunt, so runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Oh, dang.. a long sac fly to right field, and Ichiro does the Ichiro thing and fires to third, but barely barely doesn't get him in time. Park scores for Korea, so it's 2-1. Ha, Jong Lee nearly fell over backwards fouling off that ball before Watanabe... hit him too. Whoa. This is REALLY weird. Watanabe hit four guys ALL YEAR LAST YEAR and hit THREE of them today. Well... he's gone, anyway, at 60 pitches or so, so someone else will come in to pitch to Seung Yeop Lee. I wonder if it'll be another Lotte player.
Oh, wow, it is! Lotte's lefty setup man Fujita! Sweet. Heh, he knocks him down and catches him off-balance for a strikeout. Nice, nice. Hmm... come to think of it, Lotte's Yabuta is also on the roster, but closer Kobayashi isn't. Wacky.
Ok, Japan's inning was pretty short, and here's... ooo, here's 2005 PL MVP and Sawamura winner Sugiuchi pitching for Japan, against Korea, and Hee-Seop Choi is up. Strikeout. A groundout, then Iwamura runs out for a foul pop-out, and the announcers mangle yet another name, saying it was a good job by "Sugiyoshi". Sigh.
I may go to sleep soon, I think, it's 3am.
Umm, I am still awake, but I was doing other stuff while listening to the game, and uh, goddamnit, Seung-Yeop Lee just smacked a 2-run homer off Hirotoshi Ishii, so it's 3-2 Korea now. Sigh.
okay, I'll admit it, I'm still awake. It's the last out of the game. Chan Ho Park is pitching to Ichiro...
...who pops out.
I don't believe it! Korea actually won. Holy shit. I bet Ichiro bitches out Iguchi and Matsui next time he sees them. And, wow. Talk about an upset. I mean, I knew this would be the closest game, but I didn't actually expect Korea to win. DAMN YOU, SEUNG-YEOP LEE!